Great Lakes Nosferatu | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

915 Reviews
Great Lakes NosferatuGreat Lakes Nosferatu

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Red Ale

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-19-2001

For Trade:
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Reviews: 915 | Ratings: 2,603
Photo of rocketmotor
3.26/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle, presumed date code of August 06, about 6 months old. Leaves nice lacing and good appearance, dark red color and clear. Circles of hop oils on top.

Smell is ok, mostly sweet, dark malt and little bit of alcohol, can't really smell any hops. Has a good taste of clean red malts and mild hops in the finish. The alcohol can be tasted, a bit too much IMO. Could use more hops for my preference.

Good mouthfeel, nice coating of the mouth with some solidity.

Drinkability - not so great, a bit too much alcohol is tasted, don't think I would buy it again.

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Photo of MDekker
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I realized found this bottle in the fridge almost a month past the "best by" date. Overall, I wasn't thrilled, and I hoping it wasn't for that reason. Here goes...

It poured about a ruby brown, with a thin off-white head that held up OK. Overall, looked nice. Not much to the aroma - it was gentle, a little bit malty. The taste didn't meet my hopes for it - a little banana, maybe, but mostly bitter hops that lingered. Not much in the sweet and malty department. It was nicely carbonated and felt OK in the mouth, but overall something had me weirded out to the point that I was disappointed and didn't really see myself going back to it, unless it was to make sure that being past the freshness date didn't ruin it. Oh well.

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Photo of ithacabaron
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a brilliant, absolutely crystal-clear ruddy hue, with orange and nectarine colored tips where the light hits the edges. Not exactly the blood red that comes to mind when I think of vampirism, but eh, it'll do.

Smell is sweet yet muted malt, covered by a blanket of distant, clean, citrus pith-inspired hops. Very hard to wrap my nose around this one, it's a shadowy creature.

Taste reveals the monster as he steps from the shadows. Hops, hops, and more hops, as intense quinine bitterness breaks across the palate, chased by alcohol vapors and more flavoring additions. They shoot into your veins like the teeth of the vampire, sucking away all other taste sensations. The malt gets almost entirely obliterated here -- the combination of high ABV and aggressive hopping, while a unique sensation, obliterates any more sensitive notes that my palate could have picked up. Ruination doesn't have anything on this beer in terms of hop power. Wowie.

Mouthfeel is displayed in good, steady, comfortable carbonation that just keeps things at a nice simmer, without ever letting the brew drag.

Drinkability is not fantastic, but not great. I couldn't see myself ordering another pint, but I'm glad that I tried this bottle out.

All in all, this brew manages to display intense hop bittermess, but unfortunately only displays one dimension of the hop's potential (no flavor or aroma). I would imagine mainlining pure hop oil into your veins might result in a sensation similar to this. In your FACE bitterness. I would love to see the hopping schedule for this brew, just for curiosity's sake.

Thanks to blitheringidiot for cackle frackus-ing this bottle all the way back from Chicago, and for giving it to me as a gift! What a swell guy.

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Photo of Telix
3.28/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

A: Pours a nice clear reddish-brown that is a beautiful garnet when held to the light. A moderate dense, slightly beige head forms and slowly disappears.

S: The aroma is mild but is primarily malty, not very sweet at all, and some noble hop notes jump up.

T: A slightly watery initial taste quickly subsides as thicker, slightly sweet malt flavors take over. There is little to no fruitiness in Nosferatu, and it's actually kind of boring. A somewhat "fizzy" bitter taste lingers on the tongue and subsides into baking soda on the finish. It's a weird combination that doesn't seem well integrated.

M: Perfectly good to above average. It's got a nice texture and carbonation and supports the beer style well.

D: It's not super boozy or anything, but I don't enjoy it enough to want to drink it very much.

I know I'm definitely rating this beer below most people, but I just don't think it's that well-crafted. C+

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Photo of demcorhip
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mcallister for this one. Silly me, forgot all about this beer, says to enjoy by about a year ago. Nice, sticky, fine and intricate lacings.

Looks good, a slightly bloodied amber colour. Decent slightly ruddy pale tan head.

Big toffee and toast nose, with some cherry. Mild hop aromas with some woodiness, and a touch of citrus and grass.

Toast and rich toffee. Probably should have enjoyed this earlier, has a mildly annoying cherry, vinous quality that i suspect has to do with oxidizing malts. The hop bitterness is surprisingly pronounced considering how the malts dominated the nose. A clean, slightly woody hop bitterness gives way to more flavourful accents of citrus and pine.

Medium bodied, mildly carbonated and nicely balanced. A touch of astringency that plays nicely with residual malt sweetness and slight yeasty mustiness. Ill have to enjoy this fresh some day.

Pretty drinkable for an ale with 8% abv. Hints of alcohol warmth. The only thing limiting the drinkability is the fact that i probably should have enjoyed this brew a year ago. An interesting strong ale, one that i will have to revisit.

This was tough to rate. Didnt look at other reviews to see if what i feel are off flavours are present in fresher tasting or not. I went nice on this brew as i suspect the off flavours present were my fault for sitting on this too long.

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Photo of ccahoon22
3.34/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - This beer pours a reddish copper color with a good head.

S - There is a definite ale smell. You can also smell the alcohol combined with a hint of sweetness, but not too a very strong smell.

T - Very smooth taste without any distinct flavors aside from the standard ale taste. Definite hop taste with some bitterness. Overall good beer but lacks the character of other ales.

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Photo of BergBeer
3.37/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Look: Transparent red-amber with a thick cream colored head. Sticky lacing on the glass as it goes down. Moderate activity.

Smell: Bready malt, pine and floral hops, light toffee, cereal grains. Semi sweet.

Taste: Bready sweet malt. Like a slice of whole grain bread with honey. Then a huge bitter piney hop envelopes the palate leaving little room for a small flash of toffee as it finishes.

Feel: Medium - big bodied. Light alcohol on the finish. Leaves the palate like scorched earth with floral and pine hop bitter. Bone dry finish.

Overall: I really enjoyed the malt profile of this beer but the hops are just too aggressive. The malt and high ABV are excellent. Now if only the hops had been dialed back just a bit. The whole body of the beer is blown out in bitter pine.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.37/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says best by 29 Nov 2011. Not sure what that means for bottling date, but couldn't be too long ago.

Pours a deep coppery color, clear, with a big yellowish head. Good head retention, fantastic lacing. Some bubbles streaming up.

Smell is really faint, and predominantly vegetal with a hint of floral hops. Mostly it smells like fresh-cut hay. What's there is fine, but where's the bite the bottle professes? For a big beer, I'd like more.

Taste is better, but where is it? It comes on malty and rich, with overtones of bitterness. The malts gradually fade, leaving only that grassy, hoppy pinch in their wake. It's okay, kinda like an amber ale with a bit more kick. But not really impressive to me. I want more depth, more variety, more oomph, more something. On the positive side, the alcohol is well-hidden. Finish is dominated by hop (and a little alcohol) bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good; medium-bodied, feels slick, and lightened up by medium-high carbonation. Finishes bitter but dries out rather quickly.

This came highly recommended, but it doesn't wow me. Call it a strong ale, an amber/red, whatever you want - I've had quite a few that I liked more.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Axic10 for this. Best before date 11/29/11
Pours a translucent dark coppery-ruby color with a decent 1cm light tan head. Medium-low retention and spotty lacing.

The nose is very mild with notes of mild bready yeast, faint bitter chocolate and a fairly bitter smelling earthy hop character.

Flavor is pretty good but not as balanced as hoped. Again mild bready yeast, mild caramel and bitter malt with pretty strong buttering hops that seriously linger in the aftertaste. A touch of cocoa trying to show up.

Light bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall I'm fairly disappointed with this one. Had higher hopes. To me it tastes like it's old, to the point of the buttering hops are left and the aromatics are gone, but that's not the case. I can't get past how bitter the aftertaste is. At points here and there it almost felt like I was drinking cough syrup or something.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very appealing dark tan with red hues evident, with a nice white head sitting on top, thin, but appealing nonetheless while the scent is mainly hops, and soft floral tones.

Flavour, a hoppier beginning than I was expecting, it start out strong, fades back a bit, and then sets up shop on the back of the tongue. There are some definite floral tones hanging around, and a hint of caramel before before it finishes with a strong hop smash, and then dryness. I didn't know quite what to expect when I picked this up, but this definitely wasn't it...sort of a mongrel IPA mix with an ESB, and not a very satisfying one.

Mouthfeel was quite good, carbonated, some coating, full enough for the flavour to be sure while drinkability was a shade above average for me, but I'm not a huge fan of high hop profile beers, so that definitely makes for a negative impact.

Overall, one of the few Great Lakes beers that I would think twice about before buying again. Tries to break new ground, but instead comes across as a dilution of the styles it tries to borrow from.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.41/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

an imperial red ale, pours more copper in color with a nice thick head. smells a little sweet like a red, with a round hop profile as well. a little funky in the sense that the alcohol in cohorts with the malts is off a little to me. new maybe, not gross. taste quite large, malt driven for sure, but more balanced than the smell. dont think i could drink more than one pint of this as it was filling and strong. heavy mouthfeel and intoxicating. my first big beer from great lakes, not wowed

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Ryan for hooking me up with this beer. Clear copper pour with a quickly fading head and not much lacing. This one is all malt in the nose. Lots of caramel and brown sugar with a really earthy side to it. The taste is malty sweet initially, but is soon dominated by the earthiness. The hops were absent in the nose, but they show up with lots of bitterness on the palate. The toasted malt gives decent balance, but that bitter hop bite lingers and overpowers for the most part. It's a bit too earthy to be very drinkable for me. Would have liked to have seen more balance, but not a bad beer.

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Photo of oregonskibum
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Bright amber with a little burnt orange or red. Dense 1/2 inch head dissipated slowly.

S: Earthy, spicy hops dominate. Faint caramel smells.

T: First thought, slightly burnt Triscuits. Earthy spiceness carries through from the smell. Getting some leather or tobacco flavors. Definitely a little heat from the alcohol. Quite a bitter finish.

M: Mouth feel is medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Finishes with just a little heaviness on the tongue. Not syrupy, but it definitely coated the tongue.

D: Interesting... I'm glad I traded for two bottles of this because it's hard to decide whether I like this beer or not. It's not bad, but I don't know that it's a beer I would go out of my way to find.

Follow up notes from tasting second bottle on 6/9. Hop flavors had subsided a little, but the result is that the overly sweet caramel malt flavors show up more strongly. I left my score the same, but would not seek this out again.

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Photo of seeswo
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours reddish brown with a sizable tan head that fade slowly and leaves lacing all over the place. Smells of hops and a bit of sweetness. Taste is what you would expect of an aggressively hoppy imperial red ale - hop forward with a finishing malt sweetness. Mouthfeel is good, appropriately carbed and medium-heavy thickness. Pretty big in all ways, not super drinkable. Pretty decent and interesting brew.

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Photo of montageman
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a La Chouffe tulip.

In 1922 F.W. Murnau gave us Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, one of the finest silent films and an excellent horror film to boot. Great Lakes Brewing Company has chosen to use both the name and the image of Murnau's vampire for this beer. Where Nosferatu the film was an innovator, the beer version falls short. By no means a bad beer, Nosferatu just falls short. The color is almost ruby-like with decent head formation but little retention. There is plenty of stickiness and lacing. The smell and the taste are both sweet and fruity. There is a hint of chocolate in the flavor as well. The mouthfeel is not rich enough for this style, which therefore hinders the overall drinkability. A fine strong ale with a marketing gimmick close to my heart. Recommended.

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Photo of Tizzod
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to mcallister for the trade.

Pours a deep, dark amber into the galss, with a fairly thin head. Nice lacing though. It smells very sweet, almost like caramel, although the smell isn't terribly strong. It tastes very sweet as well. Lots of rich maltiness. Almost syrupy. It does finish with a nice bitterness though, which dries the palate a bit. Some alcohol is noticable. Moujthfeel is silky smooth, with just the right level of carbonation. Overall, a very tasty beer. It's a little too sweet (and strong) for me to want to drink often, but could really hit the spot in the right mood.

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Photo of gkatsoris
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Classy. Rich, deep cherry brown. W/ the slightest hue of red. The head was white w/ the littlest bubbles.

S: Sweet, sweet hops. Very different from the citrus hops I'm used to living on the east coast. Honey. Slight cherry, and slight vanilla.

T: Bitter. Oak. Musty. Burnt Caramel. Vanilla. Cherry. A little unbalanced.

M: A little carbonated. Unbalanced bitter. Very crisp and tight.

D: Very disappointing, especially after loving the appearance and smell, the taste and mouth feel.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.46/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Re-review on tap 9/22/2014:
This beer looks very good, dark ruby and fairly clear with good head, retention, lacing.

On re-review, I didn't notice much in the nose. What I did get seemed Marie malty in nature than fruity, but my original review had: The smell is mild and a little fruitier than expected. Grainy notes also detected.

Taste is sweet grain up front, brown sugar and light candy/bubblegum notes. This is followed and combined with a mint/pine taste that doesn't quite work for me. This turns into grapefruit rind as the beer finishes. The lingering feel is a bit oily to me.
Original review points:
Taste is also grain-forward, a little more fruit than expected, grapefruit/pomegranate in nature. The bad side of it, for me, was an acidic bite that crept in later, and lingered as a coating on the tongue.

Rated down a bit from original review, but generally agree with point: I think I'd rate it decently higher without that last taste. It had a little more bitterness than an amber, which I liked and enjoyed until the end.

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Photo of enfield249
3.47/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear copper, slim off white foam head, about 1 1/2 fingers.

S - Lots of floral hops in the aroma. Little bit of sweetness in the back ground.

T - Hoppy, but not like an IPA. There is way more aroma the bittering hops it tastes like. In the back ground is some nice malty sweetness.

M - Medium, with some decent sparkle from the carbonation.

D - A really nice beer, but I would almost class it as an IPA or PA, and less of a stock ale. Didn't have any of the alcohol burn I would expect with a stock ale.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received in a trade from GbvDave- thanks again!

bottle dated "Drink by 12/5/07"- oops!

Poured into DFH snifter forming a 1 finger head. Upon swirling, Released a somewhat piney-aroma forming a larger, creamy, light caramel colored head on top of a dark amber colored brew. How does this still have any hop characteristics?

The body was mostly malty though, nice caramel, toffee, maybe a bit nutty but overall pretty rich, creamy and slightly sweet. I enjoyed this brew. Glad I got two of them, I'll let the other one go for a little longer and see what happens. It was definitely a solid brew, even at this age, with a nice label to boot.

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Photo of kajerm
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours red-tinged brown and opaque. The cloudy, chocolaty color looks more like a Belgian Dark Ale than a hoppy American beer (I refuse to use the term "American Strong Ale.") There is a thin rignt of carbonation and a healthy spattering of lacing. Some large soap bubbles cluster in the center, with a few hanging out at the edges.

The aroma is a mixture of malt and slightly citric hops. The malts have an almost imperceptibly roasted quality to them.

The flavor opens up with mixed malts and some flavor hopping, and ends with bitterness; strong caramel malts take the edge off the alpha bitterness. The flavor profile is surprisingly short.

The beer is somewhat light on the palate for the malt and alcohol content. Excellent carbonation, but a little watery.

Drinkability is good.

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Photo of nomad
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a bright orange amber with a typically thick pillowy head. Color is strong though a bit rusty for my tastes.

Smells of maples, oranges, and English hops at an intense degree, with floral and earthy accents that come close to the American sense of piney hops. Recedes, though, and never teases my nose with much anything interest. Smells like a concentrated special bitter.

Taste is fruity but bitterly balanced with hop flavor through out. Has a good light-caramel base with a general overlay of ESB flavors, like strong lemony hops flavors and earthy and intense floral accents. Again, this beer comes across as a super extra strong bitter, and as such is a bit much though Great Lakes skillful construction is evident as usual (despite what I think of the results).

With fruity esters, caramel malts, and English hops taking to the nth degree, this beer doesn't coalesce into anything I ever wish to return. Not the beer I expected, even after a four-pack of adjustment. Not really an ESB, not really a Strong ale, not really something I'll touch ever again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Tpaliga: Poured a medium amber color ale with a small dirty white foamy head with average retention. Aroma of sweet malt with some bitter hops is interesting. Taste of sweet malt is easily shadowed by the citrus and bitter hops. Body is a bit light and lighter filtration would have been preferred. Alcohol is not dominant and well controlled. Good take on a style that I do not enjoyed particularly but that is always interesting to try.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle compliments of kmpitz2.

Pours a rather clear deep copper color with a thin but creamy white head. Thick lacing on the glass.

Mild aroma of sweet malt and piney hops.

Taste is sweet and malty upfront followed by a solid flavor of piney hops with a slight bitter bite. Finishes with a mesh of sweet malt and hops and a slight alcohol aftertaste.

Decent body, mild carbonation.

Decent drinkability, another solid brew from Great Lakes.

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Photo of gueuzer
3.5/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle to snifter.

App- Reddish copper. Little head with lacy cling.

Sm- Sweet caramel and molasses. Lots of hops.

Ta- Heavy bittering hops. A bit harsh. Sweet malts tasting like caramel and toffee.

DR- Hops just don't blend well with the rest of the flavors. The alcohol is fairly well hidden though.

Will put the rest of the 6 pack in the cellar to let the hops fade a bit.

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Great Lakes Nosferatu from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
4.07 out of 5 based on 2,603 ratings.
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